Chef Mark Peel's charred rapini with warm bacon vinaigrette

**Serves 4

This rich, sharp and smoky dish makes a great accompaniment for meats, particularly beef and duck. You can substitute other sturdy greens here, like kale.


  • 1 1/2 pounds rapini (2 bunches)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons almonds (about 36 almonds), toasted (page 000) and coarsely chopped


1. Trim the ends from the rapini. Wash in several rinses of water while you bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water.

2. Blanch the rapini for 1 minute in the boiling water. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer to the bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out excess water.

3. Make the bacon vinaigrette, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Keep the vinaigrette warm in the pan.

4. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the canola oil over high heat until just about smoking. Add the blanched rapini and sear until it is lightly colored, for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the bacon from the dressing.

5. Heat the chopped toasted almonds in the pan with the dressing. Spoon over the rapini and serve.


You can make this with other sturdy greens, such as kale. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop coarsely. Proceed with the recipe above.

Warm Bacon Vinaigrette


  • 4 ounces thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon water
  • 4 tlbsp canola oil
  • 2 tblsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp fresh tyme leaves
  • 2 tlbsp plus 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place bacon in pan with water. Simmer over medium heat until water disappears, about 10 minutes. Add oil and cook bacon 3-5 minutes more. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Set aside 1 tlbsp of fat from pan. Add shallot and thyme to pan and cook until tender. Remove the pan from heat, add sherry vinegar, stir and scrape pan to deglaze. Whisk in mustard and add a pinch of salt. Whisk in a tsp of water and the pepper.

Crispy Flattened Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

This is a signature Campanile dish, whose recipe has evolved since we first published it in The Food of Campanile (1997). It's essential that you cook the chicken in a heavy iron skillet. If you use a nonstick skillet the skin won't crisp properly, and if you use one that isn't heavy enough it will burn before the chicken has cooked through. We use another cast iron skillet to weight the chicken, but this isn't necessary for the home cook, who is not likely to have two cast iron skillets of the same size. You can weight the chicken by placing a wide pan that fits down into the skillet on top, then a couple of heavy cans of something on top of that. Just make sure that what you do put on top of the chicken is flat, so that the weight is evenly distributed. If your pan isn't big enough to fit all four chicken breasts without crowding, cook two at a time and keep the first two warm by covering with foil while you cook the second two. Select boneless chicken breasts with the skin on and the first wing bone intact, the more skin the better. Also, for super-moist chicken, brine the breasts ahead of time (see The Food of Campanile).


  • 4 whole boned chicken breasts with the skin on and the first wing bone in, brined if possible (page 000)
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed, and thinly sliced
  • 6 sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


1. Lift up the skin on the cut side of the chicken breasts and insert the garlic slices. Distribute them evenly under the skin, taking care not to break the skin or lift it entirely off. Rub the sage leaves between your hands to release their aroma and insert under the skin with the garlic cloves. Pull the skin back over the breast. If the chicken has not been brined, salt and pepper liberally on both sides. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight if the chicken has not been brined.

2. Heat a large, heavy cast iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and heat to just below smoking. Place the chicken breasts skin side down in the pan (unless you have a very large pan, do this in 2 batches). Season the other side of the breasts. Turn the heat down to medium low and place another heavy pan on top of the breasts, so that they are pressed flat into the pan. If your second pan is not heavy, weight the pan with cans. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed over both breasts. They must cook evenly and at the same time, because once you turn them over you can no longer weight them. Cook until very brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.